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Fan Fiction

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GregF

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Along the lines of the last post, I got another interesting PM the other day. The poster was concerned that the revelation of details about various aspects of BIONICLE, through my answers, was messing up his fan fiction in progress (which he was trying to keep as close to canon as possible).

 

Not going to debate the nature of fan fiction here, or get into the fact that a lot of the questions being asked are by other fan fiction writers who want the info for their stories ... but rather discuss the world of "licensed publishing."

 

So let's say that you now have my job -- you are the writer for the official comics and books for BIONICLE. And you have a great story idea and your book is humming right along.

 

And then you find out a set you thought was going to come out (say, shadow Toa Ahkmou) has been cancelled. But there are three new combiners you need to work into story, plus a new poster whose action has to be reflected in story. What do you do?

 

You rewrite, of course.

 

Why? Because that is the very nature of writing in a universe you do not own or fully control. In the end, I don't decide what sets come out or don't, or what kind of ad materials get done, or what the web game looks like ... I just have to incorporate all of that into what I am doing. It's the same for someone writing a Star Wars book, or a Star Trek comic, or anything where he/she did not create the universe and does not own it. Someone else can always change things and you have to be ready to turn on a dime and make changes to reflect that. You are playing with someone else's bat and someone else's ball and they make the rules you have to follow.

 

Not everyone likes that. Some writers only want to create their own universes so that they don't have anyone else making changes, and that's fine. And a lot of people write fan fiction that is THEIR BIONICLE universe and does not try to reflect the official one too much -- and that is great too! But if you are going to write for a property someone else owns -- or write "canon-close" fan fiction where you are trying to match it to my answers -- this is something you will have to deal with multiple times in your career. Nature of the beast.

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Very very very true.

 

I think that anyone who wants to write canon-close Fan fiction needs to be able to deal with it, and should read this post before starting their writing.

Personally, I like to have a balance between the two--I write my fan fictions sometime in the distant future, but it's the same world and sometimes I feature the same characters.

 

Thanks for the advice Greg!

-Z-

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I think the problem most people have is they don't understand your job in full. :P

 

The problem with these people is that they don't accept that storylines such as BIONICLE aren't created for fans to build fanfics around.

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See, this is why I chose to set my current fanfiction story series in a Bionicle-like universe that is otherwise unrelated to the official Bionicle universe. Since plot revelations generally come very quickly, and since I like to have all my Bionicle fan-fiction line up with the official storyline, it was much easier for me just to create a brand new universe that borrows concepts from Bionicle rather than simply having it take place in the actual Bionicle universe. :)

Anyway, great post as usual, Greg.

~~END~~

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I agree 100%. It's ridiculous to expect the storyline to stagnate so that your fanfiction can develop itself. If you want to keep everything in your fanfiction accurate to the story, you've got to rewrite it, just like Greg has to.

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And a lot of people write fan fiction that is THEIR BIONICLE universe and does not try to reflect the official one too much -- and that is great too!

 

With my fanfics, they are pretty much set in their own separate universe, as I do have some fairly major (or, depending on your point of view, minor) changes made to the MU (such as romantic love being possible, males and females in all tribes is the norm, they have actual blood and bleed when stabbed or hurt badly, etc). However, I also try not to do anything too strange that it isn't BIONICLE fanfiction anymore (for example, I'm not going to have Tahu spontaneously transform into a giant Jello monster for no real reason other than I want him to), though in general I try not to worry too much about what goes on in the official storyline (which I still avidly follow, by the way) so I can just write my stories.

 

Anyway, totally agree, Mr. Farshtey :) . I always enjoy these kinds of blog entries you make. They're always very informative.

 

-TNTOS-

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So glad you addressed this Greg

A lot of the responses in the OGD to things they dislike is "Well, there goes my Fan Fic"

So, nice looking out!

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Amen.

 

Also, I for one absolutely LOVE it when the official storyline throws me for a loop. My fanfics ARE a clearly different universe, but at the same time I have a rule that the major events always come back to match official story.

 

For example, the whole revelation about what Mata Nui (being) was radically changed things for my stories. At that point, I had to decide if I was going to deviate from the official story... or better yet use my imagination to figure out how I can work it back towards fitting official. I went with the latter, and it forced me to come up with what IMO was one of my best ideas yet. So yeah, I have no problem with that.

 

Sure, it would be harder for someone literally trying to fit official -- the answer I came up with is NOT identical to official. But that's the person's choice to try to be canon-accurate.

 

So my advice to that member is, if you come to that point, simply change the intent for that story. Make that story a deviation from official, but for the rest try to keep it fitting official.

 

 

Also, I know you didn't want to bring this up, but I think it's worth considering -- technically everything in fan fiction is a deviation from official story. Even if we think we are filling in a gap, we should be aware that we're really telling a story about an alternate dimension that is very close to official.

 

I think when you keep that in mind, it's easier to take these "accidents" in stride. Have your series deviate at that point, but with everything else, keep trying to fit official.

 

 

On the other hand, depending on what kind of story you're telling, you can always just say that "this story is an alternate version of events, but my other stories are in official gaps etc.", so if you're doing a series, you would basically be moving that particular story out of your series, making it a standalone.

 

My cents.

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Fun fact: I send a PM to Greg about some things about BIONICLE, beacuse of my (maybe) upcoming epic(or short story). That was the day before he posted this blog entry...

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Hm... an interesting post, kinda reminds you of that post I sent to you a few weeks ago-- wait a second!!! Were you referring to me?! I remember PMing you about the Core War fanfic with questions regarding the location of the Great Being's fortress and where Tuma first got the Skrall Tribal Design and bringing up the deal with my requested licensing permissions such as giving Takanuva wings and such for my BIONICLE movie series...

 

Hm, well if this was not me (which is also more likely not me), this still is pretty informative. But like most good directors, I will look to the fans too to see what they would like to see. A director can never really show much creativity if he uses the pre-existing media as the script, basically, if it is word-for-word. So what does the director usually do? Change it around, add his touch to add, give it some of his spice. But what can that also do? Upset the hardcore fans. Examples are how the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian included non-existent scenes and battle that never happened in the book. A second example would be the major complaints for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which was bashed by many of the hardcore book-fans because of how the movie was missing more than half the book.

 

I remember doing a small paper on this in school, about watching the movie To Kill A Mockingbird shortly after we finished reading the book, to which I wrote this same exact information and even used the same two examples above. To please the fans, it seems that it has to be word-for-word. But to show that the director is good at what he does, he can only get even more money perhaps by put his touch to it.

 

So, about those artistic licensing questions I asked in that PM, I have decided to make a topic in the future asking the fans what they think I should do. A good director for a movie based off pre-existing media lines always has a fanbase database to assist in this. But these changes I want to make are only minor, such as that one about the Makuta virus giving Takanuva wings and the complete ignorance of 'Naming Day'. Of course we will take Naming List and shove it down the trash can, it never happened and we will ignore it. But for things like Takanuva's wings, I wanna give the fans the privilege to add their creativity to my project too...

 

~|K|~

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Kni, ultimately what you do in your own fanfics is up to you. A topic asking for people's opinions is ultimately useless, because they'd only be telling you what THEY would do. My advice is, decide for yourself. :)

 

And I presume Greg didn't want to say who it was, since he didn't. :P (Besides, if it was you, wouldn't you know it? :P)

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I myself had to deal with this when I wrote The Spartan Chronicles, my Halo/Bionicle crossover. I'd tried my best to make sure the story could fit withing the spaces of the official timeline, but I had to change a few things along the way. In the first few chapters, I had Botar help move the group of characters around. He was supposed to appear later on, but, if you recall, he was killed in FoF. So, based off a question Greg had answered, I extrapolated that he would be replaced by another member of his species and had him appear. I not sure how others feel about this, but when I try to write fan-fictions (whether Bionicle or some other franchise), I try as best as possible to allow the story to fit into the niches of the official timeline as best as possible. Sometimes, though, that's not possible and you just have to work with it.

 

Toa Phoenix

 

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Guest The Captain

Posted

Amen.

 

Also, I for one absolutely LOVE it when the official storyline throws me for a loop. My fanfics ARE a clearly different universe, but at the same time I have a rule that the major events always come back to match official story.

 

For example, the whole revelation about what Mata Nui (being) was radically changed things for my stories. At that point, I had to decide if I was going to deviate from the official story... or better yet use my imagination to figure out how I can work it back towards fitting official. I went with the latter, and it forced me to come up with what IMO was one of my best ideas yet. So yeah, I have no problem with that.

 

Sure, it would be harder for someone literally trying to fit official -- the answer I came up with is NOT identical to official. But that's the person's choice to try to be canon-accurate.

 

So my advice to that member is, if you come to that point, simply change the intent for that story. Make that story a deviation from official, but for the rest try to keep it fitting official.

 

 

Also, I know you didn't want to bring this up, but I think it's worth considering -- technically everything in fan fiction is a deviation from official story. Even if we think we are filling in a gap, we should be aware that we're really telling a story about an alternate dimension that is very close to official.

 

I think when you keep that in mind, it's easier to take these "accidents" in stride. Have your series deviate at that point, but with everything else, keep trying to fit official.

 

 

On the other hand, depending on what kind of story you're telling, you can always just say that "this story is an alternate version of events, but my other stories are in official gaps etc.", so if you're doing a series, you would basically be moving that particular story out of your series, making it a standalone.

 

My cents.

Couldn't have said it better here on my end as well. I currently just entered an RPG that basically explains prehistorical aspects of the canon, and I tried very hard to make it work by doing some pretty crazy things.

 

The fun of making canon-fitting stories is trying to make them click. :D

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